Recommended reading on the minor Axis nations

Discussions on all aspects of the smaller Axis nations in Europe. Hosted by G. Trifkovic.
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Re: Recommended reading on the minor Axis nations

Postby finnguy » 24 Aug 2009 00:06

Does anyone know any good books about the Finnish Winter War and Continuation War in English?
Don't fight a battle if you don't gain anything by winning.
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pavel michalek
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Re: Recommended reading on Slovakia

Postby pavel michalek » 31 Mar 2010 15:15

Slovenský štát v obrazoch (2008) by Ivan Kamenec

This book offers general informations about Slovakian Republic (1939–1945) with large photo collection, however it´s in Slovakian or Czech language only, though it´s still a worth reading for those, who are interested in all aspects of Slovakia during WW2, like culture, foreign policy, army, everyday life etc.

I wish this book would be in more languages one day, as well as reading on other Minor Axis Nations would have such clear, general, mostly unbiased infos combined with so many photos.

front cover.jpg

back cover.jpg

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Recommended reading on Slovakia

Postby Sid Guttridge » 31 Mar 2010 19:54

I would recommend:

Axis Slovakia: Hitler's Slavic Wedge, 1938-1945 (Hardcover) by Mark W. Axworthy.

This was an Axis Europa publication and I see it is still available on Amazon.

The detailed and well-written text seems very well informed both about military organization and combat operations and is a statistical gold mine.

Axis Slovakia is certainly markedly better than the only other English-language publication on the subject, Germany's First Ally: Armed Forces of the Slovak State 1939-1945 published by Schiffer. The latter seems to be based on information already available in Czechoslovakia before the fall of Communism and is therefore weak on the years 1941-44, which I imagine are of most interest on AHF. By contrast, Axis Slovakia is particularly strong over those years.

Axis Slovakia suffers from poor editing, poor maps, poor drawings and some strangely uninformative photo captions, but Germany's First Ally is not especially impressive in some of these areas either.

If you can only afford one, definitely go for Axis Slovakia. However, given that there are only two books in English on the subject, what the hell, why not get both!


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Dr Eisvogel
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Re: Recommended reading on Croatia

Postby Dr Eisvogel » 26 Nov 2011 20:00

Although majority of AHF readers would be more interested in literature in English, I will present the works of modern Croatian historians, which are mainly available in Croatian only. Although it is a pity that they are not available in English, it won't pose a problem for the serious researchers since any serious researcher has to know the language of the object of its researches.

Beside presenting the books themselves, I will copy English summaries of various articles in Croatian written by the same authors.

Zdravko Dizdar, Četnički zločini u Bosni i Hercegovini 1941.-1945., Zagreb, 2002
Monograph about the war crimes committed by the Chetniks in Bosnia and Herzegovina (part of NDH during WWII).

Zdravko Dizdar, THE BJELOVAR UPRISING OF 7-10 APRIL 1941
The author discusses political conditions in the Bjelovar region immediately
before and at the beginning of the Second World War, and following that,
the uprising of Croatian soldiers of the 108 Regiment of the Royal Yugoslav
Army on the evening of 7th and 8th April, 1941, in Veliki Grđevac by Grubišno
Polje. It continues on with a discussion of the spread of the uprising and its
growth into a general insurrection, which led to the taking over of Bjelovar by
the insurgents on 8 April, their assumption of local power and their proclamation
of a Croatian state, until the arrival of the Germans in the city two days
later. The work also talks about the war crime perpetrated against Croatian
civilians in Donjima Mostima which was committed by Chetniks and the
Yugoslav army on 10 April.

The author is focused on the Italian mistreatment of Croatian population during the period of Italian military occupation of Croatian lands on the Eastern Adriatic. He also pointed out that Italian occupiers did not hesitate to commit war crimes in order to transform occupied territories into ethnic Italian territories.

The whole article is in English.

Zlatko Hasanbegović, Muslimani u Zagrebu 1878.-1945. Doba utemeljenja, Zagreb, 2007, 624 str.
Monograph about the Muslims in Zagreb, good illustration of the place of the Bosnian Muslims in the concept of Croatian nation as imagined by the Ustashas.

The article, based on the archival sources and contemporary press presents
the roots of political split within the Yugoslav Moslem Organization (YMO)
that started immediatly after the parilamentary elections in May 1935 and after
Mehmed Spaho, the head of the YMO, joined the government of Milan Stojadinović
and included YMO into the newly founded ruling Yugoslav Radical
Community. The split developed around the communal affairs in the town of
Sarajevo and the question of the Islamic Religious Community and these two
issues had a long reaching effect that resulted in the wider political split among
Moslems after Spaho died in 1939. After his death the split led to a definite
division into two factions which had mutually opposed views concerning the
key political and national issues.

Mario Jareb, Ustaško-domobranski pokret od nastanka do travnja 1941., Zagreb, 2007, (2nd edition)
The best monograph about the Ustasha movement and its formation until April 1941.

The article is dealing with claims that non-Slavic theories of the origins of
Croats were allegedly an integral part of Ustasha ideology and served as such
for the alleged Ustasha denial of Croatian Slavic character. In order to address
this, the author analyzed numerous publications published in the NDH. There
is no doubt that the content of some publications contained official views of
the NDH regime and the ruling Ustasha Movement on the problem of the
origins of the Croats. School textbooks, an anthology titled Naša domovina
(Our Homeland) and Ustaški godišnjak 1943. (Ustasha Almanac 1943) could be
characterized as such publications. If non-Slavic theories were really an integral
and important part of Ustasha ideology, it would be reasonable to assume
that they would be treated as such in the above-mentioned publications. In a
case such as, the denial of the Croatian Slavic character would be hyphenated.
However, the content of the analyzed publications does not support any claim
of that kind. The Slavic character and origin of the Croats was mentioned as a
fact on numerous pages of those publications. It is true that the NDH regime
and Ustasha movement were not eager to emphasize that fact, but this however
does not support some claims that non-Slavic theories served the purpose of
an alleged Ustasha denial of the Slavic origin of the Croats.
Last edited by Dr Eisvogel on 26 Nov 2011 23:36, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Recommended reading on Croatia

Postby Dr Eisvogel » 26 Nov 2011 20:09

Mario Kevo (editor), Veze Međunarodnog odbora Crvenog križa i Nezavisne Države Hrvatske – Dokumenti, Knjiga 1, Slavonski Brod - Zagreb - Jasenovac, 2009
The sourcebook provides 77 documents made by the International Committee of Red Cross officials in original languages (usually French or German) and Croatian translation.

(SVIBANJ - PROSINAC 1944.) I. dio=> The numbers of the female prisoners in Stara Gradiška Concentration Camp (May-December 1944)

Archival sources transcripts with names and numbers:

On the basis of original archival sources the author described a visit of
Julius Schmidlin to the Ustasha concentration camps of Jasenovac and Stara
Gradiška and camp’s farm at Gređani Salaš. J. Schmidlin was an ICRC delegate
in the Independent State of Croatia during the Second World War. In the summer
of 1944 Croatian authorities allowed him a visit to mentioned concentration
camps. The delegate was accompanied by Dr. Milutin Jurčić, the main
director of the Main directorate for public order and security of the Ministry
of internal affairs of the Independent State of Croatia, and some other state
functionaries. They spent four days in concentration camps, mostly in concentration
camp of Jasenovac. Croatian authorities had forbidden to Schmidlin
every possibility to take photos or to take serious conversation with the camp
inmates. However, the delegate had made some connection with the camp inmates.
Dr. Mile Bošković had become an unofficial commissioner of interned
civilians in the matter of humanitarian aid. Simply, he was the connection
between the ICRC delegate in Zagreb and the camp inmates. He had an obligation
to inform delegate Schmidlin about the humanitarian funds sent to the
camp and about the distribution of it to the camp inmates. The article is divided
into two parts. The first is that of the visit itself. The second part contains a
transcription of original report on German language
concerning the specified
visit which was written by delegate Schmidlin. The delegate had sent the report
to the ICRC Headquarter in Geneva, respectively to the Jean-Etienne Schwarzenberg,
a member of the ICRC Secretariat and head of the ICRC Special Aid
Division. The translation of the report in Croatian language is also given.

The early stages of the Jasenovac concentration camp from its very beginnings
to the end of 1941 are described by present author. After the Rome Agreement, the
Independent State of Croatia (ISC/NDH) was forced to abandon the first camps
already founded within the Italian occupation zone. The establishment of the
Jasenovac camp(s) was ordered by Eugen-Dido Kvaternik, most probably, in July
1941. Jasenovac is a small village situated in the Lonja valley, which Ustasha authorities
wanted to drain and to begin the reclamation of the land. In that year the
Government of ISC/NDH established Camp I – Krapje (August 19th) and Camp II –
Bročice (September 10th). Because of bad weather and ground conditions the construction
of Camp III – “Ciglana” (the “Brickyard”) was started later, in mid-October
1941. After the closure of the Camps I and II the surviving inmates were transferred
to the new “Brickyard” camp in mid-November 1941. Its organization however
wasn`t completed until the end of 1941.
New groups of detainees, sent by the Ustasha authorities, began to join those in the “Brickyard”. They were mostly Jews and Serbs, but the first groups of Croats also began to arrive.
At first camp inmates were employed in the Lonja valley; where they built embankments. Later, in the “Brickyard” they were divided into several work groups. For example: the Construction Work Group, the Chain Factory Work Group, the Brickyard Work Group, the Farm Work Group, the Sawmill and the Electrical Work Groups etc. These work groups were divided to other subgroups.
Camp inmates lived under very bad and inhuman conditions. Because of lack of
food, poor hygienic conditions, disease and physical cruelty, detainees died in large
numbers. Also, camp inmates were killed individually or in mass liquidations. The
first mass-liquidation occured in early November 1941, the second took place in
mid-November. On Christmas 1941 a third mass-liquidation was carried out.
Based on available documents and plans, the author describes Camp III – the
“Brickyard”. In addition, some details about the early Camp Command and military
forces securing the camp area are also given.

Map of Jasenovac camp from 1942 in:

Nada Kisić-Kolanović, Vojskovođa i politika. Sjećanja Slavka Kvaternika, Zagreb: Golding Marketing, 1997
The memoirs of Slavko Kvaternik, the person who proclaimed the establishment of NDH on April 10th 1941 and was one of the key persons in NDH regime in 1941 and 1942, edited by Nada Kisić-Kolanović.

Nada Kisić-Kolanović, Mladen Lorković, ministar urotnik, Zagreb, 1998
Monograph about Mladen Lorković, who served at various ministerial positions (internal affairs, foreign affairs) and was involved in conspiracy to depose Pavelić and change sides in August/September 1944.

Nada Kisić-Kolanović, NDH i Italija., Političke veze i diplomatski odnosi, Zagreb, 2001
Monograph about the diplomatic and political relations between NDH and Italy.

Nada Kisić-Kolanović, Zagreb-Sofija. Prijateljstvo po mjeri ratnog vremena 1941-1945., Zagreb, 2003
Monograph about the political relations between NDH and Bulgaria.

Nada Kisić-Kolanović (ed.), Poslanstvo NDH u Sofiji. Diplomatski izvještaji 1941-1945, 2 volumes, Zagreb, 2003.
The sourcebook containing diplomatic reports from the NDH Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria. It's interesting, because the Ambassador Židovec, author of the reports, was a scribomaniac, so there are really lot of details (about the Bulgarian political scene, contacts with the Turks and the Japanese along with the fields of common interest between Bulgaria and NDH).

Nada Kisić-Kolanović, Muslimani i hrvatski nacionalizam 1941.–1945., Zagreb, 2009
Monograph about the Bosnian Muslim relationship to and participation in the Croatian nationalism.

The period of the Independent State of Croatia, 1941-1945, was not an
intellectual vacuum in the life of the Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A
look at the Muslim intelligentsia shows that it was multi-layered and included
many groups with differing aims. Historically, the Muslim world view
has been seen through two discourses. Members of the Muslim political
elite, such as Džafer beg Kulenović, Ademag Mešić or Muhamed Alajbegović,
were committed to the Croatian state/nation which was to lead the Muslims
into a modern secular society. The effort at the moral and political renewal
of Bosnian and Herzegovinian Muslims during 1941-1945 was most prominently
represented by the theologian and scholar Mehmed Handžić, who
argued for a return to “the sources of Islam.” The religious intelligentsia blamed
the political elite for the erosion of Islam and rejected any identification
with western modernity and nationalism of the European type. The lack of
confidence among the religious elite in the state structures is clearly profiled
through the regressive attempt to return to the original experience of Islam.
The appearance of political Islam in Sarajevo can be considered in large part
a consequence of the political structures in Zagreb. In fact, the Muslims of
the Independent State of Croatia were left without a law concerning religious
or educational autonomy. Muslim internal conflict that developed around
the Islamic religious community revolved around the question of whether
its Islamic homogeneity would be preserved or whether it would be surrendered
to political manipulation. The time was too short for Islam to develop
into an ideological movement during the Independent State of Croatia.
Nevertheless, among the younger Muslims new notions of Islam and politics
could be glimpsed. What the author has in mind is the activist wing of the
younger Muslims, who began to express skepticism toward the ulema because
of its service to the political system rather than Islam.

This article is concerned with the cultural activity of Croatian national intellectuals
from the late 1930s to 1945. Historical research into and interpretation
of this issue, without which it is impossible to write a synthesis of the intellectual
projects of modern Croatia, includes two assumptions. The first presupposes
the wartime whirlwind of 1941-1945 in which two possible political strongholds
appear for the renewal of the Croatian state: a nationalist one, as an independent
Croatian state and a communist one, as a federal Croatia within the framework
of a new Yugoslavia. The second assumption presupposes that the conflict of nationalists
and communists had cultural implications due to which concrete historical
events also obtained their metaphoric function. As a result the anti-communism
of the nationalist intellectuals is viewed as a discursive construct. When
speaking about the public discourse on Croatian identity 1941-1945 the nationalist
definition of this identity starts from the stereotype that Croatia is always
defending itself from the East dating back to the Ottoman period. Nationalist
tensions towards communism in 1941 recast the “East” into the communism of
the USSR seeing it as a new imperialistic expression which will sever the organic
tie of Croatia with the civilization and cultural values of the West. In the uncertain
wartime realities Ustaša nationalism develops defensive characteristics towards
Western Europe and in large part utilizes the stereotype of victimized nation.
The defensive line of cultural identity in 1941-1945 can be read in the numerous
cultural reflections on permanent retreat, on futile historical sacrifice for western
European values, etc. Such a manner of recognizing one’s own identity had the
purpose of pushing Croatia from the periphery to the centre stage of the interests
of the western democratic powers and engaging them in the survival of the “Croatian
state” as a borderland of Europe vis-à-vis the Soviet Communist Bloc. This
entire context of cultural identification becomes problematic the minute the ruling
group of right-wing nationalists positions its anti-communism alongside fascism
and National Socialism and recognizes these as kindred ideologies. Perhaps
it could be added that anti-communism becomes the point from which the nationalists
disconnect from “civil society” and political democracy and connect to
National Socialism and fascism. This issue is analyzed in the article on the basis of
the writings of three intellectuals who were also state officials in the Independent
State of Croatia. Generally speaking, in the late 1930s it is almost impossible to
speak about open contacts between Croatian nationalist intellectuals and fascism
and National Socialism without Ante Pavelić, the leader of the Ustaša movement
who spent his middle age in political emigration in Italy (1929-1941). Fascism
became close to Pavelić in the sense of his personal political experience, and clear
proof of this is evident in his book Errori e orrori. Communismo e bolscevismo in
Russia e nel mondo (“Terrific errors, Communism and Bolshevism in Russia and
in the world) published in 1938. Pavelić is unsurpassed in branding communism
in order to give credence to the belief that fascism is the antithesis of communism,
which is believed to destroy the national traditions on which Europe is
founded. Milivoj Magdić, left-leaning publicist and writer prior to 1940, when
he embraced nationalism, was primarily concerned with cultural geography and
the creation of negative stereotypes about Bolshevism/Communism. As one of
the editors of the politico-cultural weekly Spremnost Magdić used the genre of
political essays to attempt to argue that Croatia organically Western European.
He rejected the notion of “Slavism” and “Yugoslavism,” and Bolshevism/Communism
as aggressive messianic ideologies. Magdić believed that small nations could
protect themselves by “national socialism,” which would bring their cultural creativity
to the surface. At the same time, Magdić took issue with liberal capitalism
from the point of view of socialism and the moral tenets of Catholicism, thus it
is not surprising that he attempted to give a new impetus to the social theoretician
Juraj Šćetinac (1898-1939) and his concept of “democratic corporatism.”
Finally, Aleksandar Seitz, the man responsible for the social organization of the
Independent State of Croatia, formulated the phrase “Croatian Socialism” in order
to defeat “Communist Socialism” and brought it close to the fascist model of
corporatism as a means of exercising social control of society. Seitz’s book Put do
hrvatskog socijalizma (1943) provides a weak insight into the social thought of
the Ustaša movement. In it he claims that “Croatian Socialism” is the product of
the “Ustaša revolution” which transformed society from within by rejecting the
liberal democratic system. According to Seitz, the Independent State of Croatia is
a negation of the exhausted political form of the so-called “formal democracy and
parliamentarianism” that brings forth “an all-encompassing national movement,
which is organically conceived.” Seitz is very concerned to reject any structural
and ideological similarity between national “Croatian Socialism” and a universal
“Communist Socialism.” Thus he argues that “Croatian Socialism” rejects the
principle of “class struggle” and is rather led by the principle of “organic national
community.” Since he believed that Ustaša Croatia strove to overcome the class
divisions in society, Seitz discarded the notion of “working class” and replaced it
with the concept of “order.” At the same time, he claimed that “Croatian Socialism”
unlike “Communist Socialism” respected private property which it tied to
the “community,” while the owner of property he considered responsible to the
people and the state. In 1943 the Croatian public was also unexpectedly presented
with a critical analysis of Bolshevism and the USSR from the pen of Ante Ciliga
who belonged to the first generation of disappointed Croatian communists. The
group of nationalist intellectuals gathered around the politico-cultural weekly
Spremnost invited him to join their ranks. Ciliga heard the call by writing a series
of scathing texts about the USSR which were published in the booklet 10 godina
u S.S.S. R. “Ten years in the USSR” (1943). Though Ciliga’s texts about Bolshevism
were metaphorically suitable to the nationalist critique of communism, they
were an ill fit in the Ustaša context. Yet in the wider cultural sense Ciliga’s texts
are important because they contain the first attempt to break the black and white
Ustaša/Partisan myths about the USSR.
Last edited by Dr Eisvogel on 26 Nov 2011 23:48, edited 4 times in total.

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Dr Eisvogel
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Re: Recommended reading on Croatia

Postby Dr Eisvogel » 26 Nov 2011 20:13

Davor Kovačić, Redarstveno-obavještajni sustav Nezavisne Države Hrvatske od 1941. do 1945. godine, Zagreb, 2009
The most solid and comprehensive monograph on police and intelligence structures of NDH.

With the foundation of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) in April 1941,
there also came to the establishment of organized police forces. Simultaneously, the
so-called Direction for Public Order and Security (RAVSIGUR) was founded as a
standard form of police force with limited rights, and the so-called Ustasha
Surveillance Service (UNS) as the secret state police, structured on analogy to the
German Gestapo. This went hand in hand with the establishment of lower-rank police
bodies. Due to some unsettled circumstances, a Higher Police Committee was founded
in Srijem in 1942, which was headed by Viktor Tomić.
After the emergence of RAVSIGUR and UNS, which were both headed by the
same person (Dido Kvaternik), any police operations, whether handled by the protection
or župa (county) police forces, were under the control of the Office I of UNS.
This gave a guarantee of a functional unity and ensured that there be no adverse
effects in case of divergencies in practice, which were theoretically conceivable; all
top management was in a single man's hands. In practice there came to overlaps in
jurisdictions only in those places where there were protection forces; in Zagreb,
Sarajevo and for a short while in Banja Luka. Namely, the župa police jurisdictions
as well as the police jurisdiction of the city of Zagreb also comprised within their
structure separate political divisions with, at least in theory, the same objectives as
the protection forces. Since the very inception of NDH, all through 1943 there were
in NDH two police force organizations, i.e. RAVSIGUR with limited rights and
authority and the UNS with unlimited authorities as a secret state police, built on the
model of the Gestapo. At the very beginning the entire UNS apparatus was filled by
completely inexperienced and for the most part unprofessional staff, who had only
come to acquire the regulatory and intelligence-service competencies required as
they gained more and more experience. This explains at least the initial disorientation
and errors which could not have been avoided. This also resulted in frequent
shifts in work methods. The organization itself developed at a gradual pace. Taking
all that into consideration, UNS achieved significant results, and such results could
only have been achieved thanks to a complete reliance in the work of most employees. Due to some unsettled matters in Srijem, i.e. due to the strengthening of the
Partisan resistance movement, in 1942 E. Dido Kvaternik prompted, and Pavelić
ordered, the foundation of the Higher Police Committee.

There have been few records in Croatian historiography of Stjepan Vukovac, the
Mayor of Osijek and Assistant Minister of Interior Affairs of the Independent State
of Croatia (a position which very soon he abandoned). This paper sets out to illuminate,
on the basis of historiographic data, the role and activities of Stjepan Vukovac,
the mayor of Osijek at the time of the establishment of the Independent State of
Croatia in April 1941. Special attention is paid to his entrance into and activities
within the Government of the Independent State of Croatia, and to the reasons leading
to his resignation in June 1941. On assuming the position of Assistant Minister of Interior Affairs, Stjepan Vukovac entered into conflict with Eugen Dido Kvaternik, and at this earliest stage
of his mandate, voiced his disagreement with the current regime. As the state secretary
and assistant minister, Vukovac told the ustasha official from Karlovac, Vladimir
Židovac that “even though there have only been a few isolated cases so far, one must
conclude that Dido Kvaternik and the other competent «figures» are preparing to
wage a full scale war against the Serbs and the Jews to their complete annihilation”.
Soon enough, Vukovac’s premonitions proved true; towards the end of June the most
massive wave of arrests was launched. It must be stressed that the persecution of the
Serbs, Jews but also of different-minded Croatians, produced a state of chaos in the
Independent State of Croatia since its very inception. Persecutions of Serbs were a
part of Pavelić’s planned agenda, which he started implementing aided by around
250 returned Ustashas. Such ustashas were sent off to different regions and places
with the purpose of persecuting the Serbs and terrorizing the Croats who did not
share their political views. Under the German pressure, some anti-Semitic laws were
also passed and the persecution of Jews began. However, at lower administrative levels of the ustasha movement and the government there were quite a few officials who distanced themselves from the ruling regime and from their particular actions, and who resigned from their positions or
cancelled their memberships. Among the higher structures of central government,
such examples were few, but one notable example, beyond doubt, is Stjepan

The study investigates the relation of the police intelligence system of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) towards Kingdom of Hungary in the II World War on the basis of available archival sources and the existing literature. Relationship between two neighbouring states were tense because Hungary occupied Međimurje and Baranja. The entire police (and administrative) system of the NDH was set up folowing the models, but also under direct patronage, of fascist Italy and nazi Germany. A particular problem in the work of police and intelligence services was that the territory of the NDH was covered by networks of other, generally unfriendly intelligence services that had to be detected, observed and neutralised. Therefore, the Hungarian police-intelligence services as well as the German and Italy were treated by the NDH authorities as hostile.

Using the German example of a “totalitarian” spy network, the security
services created in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) covered the entire
country with an intelligence apparatus. The entire police system (and administrative
system) in the NDH was established according to the example of
Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy and placed under their tutelage. It can be concluded
that the NDH, even though it was formally an independent state, in
terms of police and intelligence services was in practice treated as an occupied
district and various information services of the Third Reich were engaged
in activities throughout its territory. German interference in the sovereignty
of the NDH was especially obvious in the organizations subordinated to
Heinrich Himmler. From the very formation of the NDH, the Germans had
a rather wide network of intelligence services in operation. The Gestapo, the
secret police, was responsible for enemies of Nazism, Marxists, communists,
reactionaries, and liberals; it was also supposed to control the entire apparatus
of the Ustaša authorities. The SD, the security service, that is the intelligence
service of the Nazi Party, was given the task of monitoring the economy,
that is, public life in general. The Abwehr, the primary German military
intelligence service, had its own separate intelligence service in the NDH. On
the basis of available archival sources and existing literature, the author examines
the scope and nature of the German police system in the NDH from 1941-
1945. The author attempts to understand the degree of cooperation between
the German police services and their corresponding agencies in the NDH, as
well as to determine to what extent the police services of the NDH provided
the Germans with intelligence, and to what extent they received information
from their counterparts. Despite the fact that until 1943 the Germans did
not openly and directly put into operation their administrative apparatus in
the NDH, in practice, the Germans had controlled all the police agencies in
the NDH from the very beginning and had interfered in the operation of the
administrative organizations. The German police and intelligence services
did not cooperate sincerely with their counterparts in the NDH. It can be concluded
that their relationship was one-sided: the police and intelligence services
of the NDH provided information and assistance to the Germans but received
none in return. All their efforts to liberate themselves from German control
and influence were not successful.

Based on a research of archive materials and available literature, the paper discusses
the penal legislation and the penitentiary system in the Independent State of
Croatia (NDH). In addition to regular courts, there were also war courts and courtmartials
as non-regular courts in the territory of NDH. The minister of justice and
religious affairs was in charge of the entire highest central administration and supervision
of the penitentiaries and correctional institutions in the Independent State of
Croatia, while a special department was formed within the ministry of justice and
religious affairs that was in charge of the activities of the penitentiaries and correctional
facilities and technical issues associated with sentence serving. At the moment
when NDH was formed, there were four men’s penitentiaries: in Lepoglava,
Hrvatska Mitrovica, Stara Gradiška and Zenica, and there was one women’s penitentiary
in Zagreb. There were four correctional institutions for children and younger
juveniles: the Correctional Institution for Children and Younger Juveniles in
Pahinsko near Ivanec, men’s institutions in Glina and Gospić, and the Correctional
Institution for Children and Younger Juvenile Girls in Požega.
Immediately after the establishment of NDH, a systematic and rational concentration
of convicts was undertaken with the goal of minimizing the state’s expenditures.
Efforts were also made to endow the penalty of depriving persons of their liberty,
in addition to repression and prevention, also with a correctional significance,
so that the criminal, after having served his sentence, could return from the penitentiary
into the society as a rectified man and become its useful member.

TOWARDS ITALY 1941 – 1943
The entire police (and administrative) system of the Independent State of
Croatia was set up following the models, but also under the direct patronage,
of fascist Italy and nazi Germany. On the basis of available archival sources
and the existing literature, this article investigates the relation of the police
system of NDH towards fascist Italy and its politics regarding Croatian regions
in the 1941-1943 period. In the areas occupied by the Italian army which were
supposedly under NDH’s sovereignty the Italians arrested people and proceeded
of their own accord and will completely ignoring the police authorities of
NDH. The Italian intelligence service, as well as the German intelligence service
did not have an open and sincere collaboration with the same authorities in
the Independent State of Croatia. Moreover, they tried to win over the intelligence
service workers in order to obtain more intelligence data. Therefore, the
Italian police-intelligence services as well as the German were treated by the
NDH authorities as hostile.

FROM 1941 TO 1943.
The Directorate for Public Order and Security (Ravnateljstvo za javni
red i sigurnost – RAVSIGUR) was established as a separate section within
the framework of the Ministry of the Interior of the Independent State of
Croatia (NDH). It was conceived as a regular policing institution within
the NDH and was given the responsibility of supreme command of all police
districts and detachments. At the same time, the Surveillance Service of
the Ustaša (Ustaška nadzorna služba – UNS) was created as a special police
of the Ustaša regime. Eugen Dido Kvaternik was selected by Pavelić as the
head of both RAVSIGUR and the UNS, by which police activities were united.
After the replacement of Dido Kvaternik the role of the UNS diminished.
At the beginning of 1943, RAVSIGUR broadened its responsibilities to
include those that were within the scope of the UNS and changed its name
to the Chief Directorate for Public Order and Security (Glavno ravnateljstvo
za javni red i sigurnost – GRAVSIGUR).

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Re: Recommended reading on Croatia

Postby Dr Eisvogel » 26 Nov 2011 20:18

Marko Samardžija, Hrvatski jezik, pravopis i jezična politika u NDH, Zagreb, 2008
The monograph with many original sources about the linguistic policies of NDH and its vehicles (various language offices). Explains official position towards Croatian dialects, resurrection of the Croatian military terminology suppressed in favor of the Serbian terminology in period 1918-1941 etc. It gives an overview of Croatian linguistics in general, biographies of the linguists, struggles about orthographies.

Marko Samardžija, Changes of names of Croatian settlements between
April and December 1941
The paper lists and analyzes changes of names of Croatian settlements in the
Independent State of Croatia (Nezavisna Država Hrvatska) in the period between
April and December 1941 according to the data given in the official newspaper
«Narodne novine».

Before the outbreak of WWII as well as during its initial phase, the political orientation
of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was in a profound measure aligned with the paradigmatic
ideological world-views of the Fascist-Nazi powers. Owing to this a certain number of legal acts
whose nature was primarily anti-Semitic were accepted and carried out. As a consequence, all
the Yugoslav administrative branches of government were obliged to act according to these
Thusly, the Yugoslav consulate office in Zadar, in the framework of its assigned chores
and assignments, actively participated in preparing the full implementation of legal norms which
in those circumstances primarily promulgated negative relations towards representatives of the
Jewish people. Receiving a number of memos and under obligation to act according to their
instructions, the consulate office in Zadar showed in a stark manner the promptness of the
Yugoslav state to undertake imperative anti-Semitic actions.

Vladimir Geiger, Volksdeutschers – the Faith of Collective Guilt
Based on archival material and literature, the article presents the position of the
German minority (Volksdeutschers) in Yugoslavia during and after the Second
World War. Special attention is paid to the attitudes and activities of the Yugoslav
partisans towards the Volksdeutschers in Yugoslavia near the end of the war, as
well as those of the communist government in the post-war period. The author
points out that the partisan movement and the subsequent communist regime proclaimed
the Volksdeutschers in Yugoslavia to be collective culprits and enemies of
the people and state. The position of the Volksdeutschers in Yugoslavia during and
after the war was unilaterally and exclusively determined by numerous and various
acts, decrees and decisions, which the author highlights in the article. In late
1944 and early 1945, the partisan movement, the communists and the newly-established
government started, in the territories under their rule, to force the remaining
Volksdeutschers out of Yugoslavia. Pursuant to legal provisions, the Volksdeutschers’
properties in their entirety were confiscated.

Article in German language:

Vladimir Geiger, The Krndija Camp 1945–1946
According to German/Volksdeutsche figures, of the 195,000 Volksdeutsche who remained in Yugoslavia, around 170,000 individuals were interned in camps from the end of 1945 until early 1948. About 50,000 to 60,000 members of the German minority died in the camps from ill-treatment, cold, hunger, typhus and dysentery. At least 10,000 to 20,000 Croatian Volksdeutsche, for the most part civilians who remained in their home villages, were interned after 1945 in various camps, follow¬ing the closing of the border with Austria. Based on the available sources, the larg¬est camps for ethnic Germans on Croatian territory during that time period were Josipovac near Osijek, Valpovo, Velika Pisanica near Bjelovar, Krndija near Đakovo, Šipovac near Našice, Pusta Podunavlje in Baranja, and Tenja/Tenjska Mitnica near Osijek. The village of Krndija in Slavonia (four kilometers northwest of Punitovci in the Đakovo area) is paradigmatic to the fate of Germans in Croatia. Once a mostly ethnic German settlement, which grew quickly after its foundation in 1882/1883, it disappeared literally “overnight.” Its population moved or fled at the end of October 1944, while the Yugoslav communist authorities subsequently transformed Krndija into a camp for the remaining Germans in the region during 1945 and 1946. From August 1945 until May 1946, the abandoned German village of Krndija became one of the largest internment camps in Croatia and Yugoslavia for the remaining Volksdeutsche population. The Krndija camp was initially established to hold pris¬oners of war (German and Croatian soldiers), but later it expanded to hold political prisoners. On 15 August 1945, the camp was transformed to hold the remaining ethnic Germans from Slavonia, Syrmia, western Croatia, and the Bosnian Posavina. The unfortunate camp inmates were faced not only with unfavorable housing condi¬tions, but had exceptionally bad nutrition, poor hygiene, and scarcity of medicine and medical services, suffered from various diseases, and were subjected to a strenu¬ous work regimen. During the winter of 1945/1946, especially from January 1946, an epidemic of typhus fever began to ravage the camp and quickly reached terrifying proportions. By the end of March and in early April 1946, steps were taken to bring the epidemic under control. Other than a few isolated incidents, which undoubtedly occurred, killings and executions did not take place in Krndija. Dead inmates were buried at the local cemetery, often in unmarked graves.
It is estimated that between 3,500 and 4,000 inmates passed through the Krn¬dija camp from 1945 to 1946, and approximately 500 to 1,500 of them lost their lives. According to the available figures and sources, a total of 338 individuals died in Krndija between 1945 and 1946, 152 of which were men, 183 women, while the gender of three deceased inmates remains unknown. The age of 204 of the victims has been determined, including nineteen children and young adults under the age of fourteen (ten girls and nine boys). Three of them were infants less than a year old (two girls, one boy), including one that was born in the camp. Ten of the children were six years old or younger; four boys (two of them two years old, one aged three, and one aged five) and six girls (three were one year old, two were four, and one was six years old). The largest group of victims, 116 individuals (sixty-seven women and forty-nine men), were of working age (between the ages of fifteen and sixty-four), including thirty-six women of childbearing age (between the ages of fifteen and forty-nine). Finally, there were seventy-one victims (thirty-one women and forty men) who were older than sixty-five. The date of death is unknown for 111 victims of Krndija, while 118 individuals died between the founding of the camp in August 1945 and the end of the year, and another 109 died during 1946, that is, until the camp was disbanded in May 1946. The more or less exact time of death is known for a significant number of victims (119 individuals). According to various sources and claims, at least fifteen people were killed in the Krndija camp. The camp was disbanded in May 1946, and the internees who were not released then, were trans¬ferred to other camps (Podunavlje in Baranja, Tenja/Tenjska Mitnica near Osijek, Gakovo in Bačka, and Knićanin/Rudolfsgnad in Banat).
In the camp section of the Krndija cemetery there are presently only about fifty preserved and marked graves holding the remains of camp internees (either buried individually or in groups). Thirty-five of the graves have the names of those buried in the graves (thirty-nine individuals) still visible. On 1 November 1997, the first commemoration was held in Krndija and on 7 October 1999, a monument to the camp victims of 1945-1946 was unveiled in the camp section of the cemetery. The monument holds inscriptions in both German and Croatian.

On the basis of the most important historiographical, demographic, and
other studies this work presents the human losses suffered by Croatia during
and immediately after the Second World War that were carried out by the National
Liberation Army and the Partisan units of Yugoslavia/the Yugoslavian
Army and the newly established communist authorities. By sheer number of
human losses, the case of Bleiburg and the Volksdeutsche are the most obvious
examples of Partisan and Communist repression and crimes, or “settling of
scores with enemies of the people” in Yugoslavia, and Croatia, at the end of
the Second World War. This article begins by discussing the first, most often
quotes figures of demographic loss, then it goes on to present the more reliable,
statistical/demographic calculations, and concludes with identifiable and
numerically verifiable losses based on systematic research.

Many tables with numbers in:

Slavko Goldstein, 1941. Godina koja se vraća, Zagreb, 2007 (2nd edition)
This is the only publicistic work on the list, and the author is not a historian. It is an interesting overview of many of the controversial events in Croatia 1941-1945. The author is a Jew and a former Communist, which influences his view of events. Also, his father himself being a Jew with communist sympathies was killed in an Ustasha concentration camp. As a minor he joined the Communist partisans.

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Re: Recommended reading on Croatia

Postby Dr Eisvogel » 27 Nov 2011 14:20

Esther Gitman, When Courage Prevailed: The Rescue and Survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia 1941-1945, 2011

A historical study of the treatment of Jews in Yugoslavia after Nazi ideology was adopted, with an emphasis on the ways Jews survived and were rescued by those who put their own lives in great peril.

When Courage Prevailed examines the ways Jews were rescued and survived in a country in which the Ustaše, with their roots in Yugoslavia’s nationality conflicts and politics, adopted the Nazi ideology, which emphasized that there could be no compromise in regard to the Jewish Question and the Final Solution: no Jews deserved rescue. Survival of Jews was complicated by Yugoslavia’s dismemberment at the hands of the Axis Powers; Germany and Italy and its satellites and puppets. The Nazi propaganda machine advocated that Jews must be exterminated for the good of the Aryans which included the Volksdeutsche (Yugoslavs of German ancestry), the Croats and the Muslims.

Those who dared to defy German commands suffered severe penalties. To survive, a Jew had to be brave, resourceful, and willing to seize every opportunity for escape, and each would owe a debt of gratitude to as many as twenty helpers. Entire villages hid Jewish children. Friends and neighbors appealed to the Ministry of the Interior for the release of individuals. Employers and employees beseeched the Ministry of Finance to obtain the release of Jewish workers, employers, and managers from concentration camps. Many efforts entailed great risk. This book reveals the practical and the ethical motives animating rescue.

Three overarching variables played key roles in the nature and extent of rescue in the Independent State of Croatia, known as (NDH):

First, Nazi-instigated propaganda struggled to gain traction, even among the Ustaše, a factor attributable to the weakness of prewar antisemitism, the high rate of assimilation among Croatian Jews, especially the large number of mixed marriages—even Pavelić’s wife was half-Jewish—and to the Ustaše’s need for the Jews’ professional skills.

Second, even though the Nazis systematically exploited greed to encourage collaboration, many Croatians did not succumb to it. Their reluctance to assist the occupiers and the Ustaše, and their willingness and courage to assist the Jews, helped some of them to hold on until they could be rescued.

Third, the initiative on the part of Jews who fled to the Italian zones or to the Partisans—even at the cost of abandoning their property or members of their families—increased their odds of survival. Opportunities for escape were scarce, but they existed, and those who seized these precious moments improved their chances for survival.

"Faced with genocide, it's shocking that only a few dared to stand agaisnt the will of the state. When Courage Prevailed: The Rescue and Survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia 1941-1945 tells the story of the Nazi force that spread to other countries in Europe, and the oppression of the Jewish people that was felt in this country alongside the other minorities of the region, where racial tension seemed to be strong throughout the twentieth century. When Courage Prevailed is a fascinating read of survival under continuing oppression. — The Midwest Book Review
Further reviews at: and possibility of a glimpse into some chapters.

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Re: Recommended reading on Croatia

Postby Dr Eisvogel » 27 Nov 2011 17:29

Two articles of Croatian authors in English published in: 1945 – A BREAK WITH THE PAST
A History of Central European Countries at the End of World War Two (Edited by Zdenko Čepič), Ljubljana, 2008

Zdenko Radelić, Communist Authority and Opposition
in Croatia after 1945
.......p. 159

Mario Jareb, Illusions of a 'Final Victory' and the 'Fate of Small
European Nations' – Media and Propaganda of the Independent
State of Croatia in 1945
.....p. 227

There are a lot of other very interesting articles regarding WWII and the contents are on pages 3 and 4. Absolutely worth checking.

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Re: Recommended reading on Hungary

Postby Zoltan » 10 Dec 2011 23:04

Hungary in World War II; Caught in the Cauldron, Deborah S. Cornelius (Fordham University Press, 2011)

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Re: Recommended reading on Croatia

Postby Dr Eisvogel » 01 Apr 2012 09:51

PhD In German language defended at the University of Vienna in 2010:

Zvonko Orešković: Die zeitgenössische Kroatische Militärterminologie und die Geschichte ihrer Entstehung


Contemporary Croatian military terminology did not begin with the break-up of the
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). The development of contemporary
Croatian military terminology can be seamlessly traced back to its institutional beginnings.
The beginning of its development coincides with the 1868 Croatian-Hungarian
Settlement, and with the introduction of the militia as part of the armed forces of the
Monarchy. The bulk of Croatian military terminology developed in the second half of the 19
th century, a time during which the Croatian-Serbian linguistic scene was rocked by strong
altercations concerning the lexis of the not-yet standardized Croatian language. On the basis
of historical research, e.g. into the then Austro-Hungarian service regulations in German,
Hungarian, but also Croatian and a wide variety of complementary literature, this paper shows
how Croatian military terminology developed and that it was in use for almost half a century
until the collapse of the monarchy in 1918.

In the newly founded kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Croatian military
terminology was not used.

In lieu of it, the Croatians now also had to use the uniform military
terminology of the new state. In this new state, which was renamed Kingdom of Yugoslavia
in 1929, Serbian military terminology was used, which had developed out of the Serbian
military tradition and was influenced by the Russian military role model.

In 1941, with the outbreak of World War II and the foundation of the Independent
State of Croatia (NDH), Croatian military terminology emerged again. This puppet state
established its own armed forces and introduced Croatian military terminology, which
remained in use until 1945, the entire life-span of the state. This paper shows that the then
military terminology was a faithful copy of the one used in the Monarchy, expanded - of
course - to include those terms which resulted from new developments in military technology
and the general sciences.

From 1945, due to the requirements for uniformity in military language (and the reallife power structures),
only Serbian was used as the command language in communist Yugoslavia.

Following the break-up of Yugoslavia, the Republic of Croatia was proclaimed, and
its armed forces were founded. With this development, a large part of the Croatian military
language, returned once more.

In the consideration of contemporary Croatian military terminology, the focus lies
especially on those terms which were transferred directly from the time of the Monarchy. The
question whether these terms can, without further ado, be integrated into the corpus of today’s
Croatian military terminology is a crucial dilemma of the young Croatian military.

Contemporary Croatian military terminology is still being created, and the
standardization phase still lies ahead. This is a challenge for Croatian linguists, since a
solution will have to be found which works both from a terminological, and from a national
perspective. Whether this challenge can successfully be met will depend in no small measure
on how and to what extent the past and the present can be reconciled.


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Re: Recommended reading on Croatia

Postby George Lepre » 05 Apr 2012 05:01

Hi Dr Eisvogel -

These additions are wonderful. Keep up the good work.


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Re: Recommended reading on Romania

Postby Victor » 16 Jun 2012 11:54

By far the best English language source on the Romanian military participation in WW2 is currently Mark Axworthy,Cornel Scafes, Cristian Craciunoiu, Third Axis, Fourth Ally - Romanian Armed Forces in the European War 1941-1945. The initial issue of 1995 goes now on Amazon for 175 $. A new issue has been republished by Hailer in the US several years ago.

IMO, any serious attempt to discover or understand the Romanian participation in WW2 should start with this book (or with a certain website :D ).

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Re: Recommended reading on Slovakia

Postby Treve » 11 Jul 2012 12:56

The key work is:

Yeshayahu Jelinek's The Parish Republic: Hlinka s Slovak People’s Party, 1939–1945

Also crucial if dated is J.K.Hensch's Die Slowakei und Hitlers Ostpolitik

Also - though not a book - Jellinek, Y. “Stormtroopers in Slovakia: The Rodobrana and the Hlinka Guard.” JCH 6:3
(July 1971): 97–119.

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Re: Recommended reading on Croatia

Postby Dr Eisvogel » 23 Sep 2012 19:34

George Lepre wrote:Hi Dr Eisvogel -

These additions are wonderful. Keep up the good work.


Dear Mr. Lepre,

thank you for the interest shown. I'll try my best.

There exists Review of Croatian History, published by Hrvatski institut za povijest (Croatian Institute of History) in English language.

It is a history journal, an academic serial publication designed to present new scholarship on Croatian history, with articles being subjected to peer review.

So, unlike most of the other articles cited above, which are in Croatian language, the articles published in RCH are in English, with a few articles in other languages (French, German).

Some of the articles published in RCH are related to the WWII era, and I will present them here and link to the full texts. Also, I will link to some articles important for understanding the context of Croatian history.


Zdravko Dizdar: Italian Policies Toward Croatians In Occupied Territories During The Second World War
Puni tekst: pdf (1022 KB), Engleski, Str. 179 - 210 , preuzimanja: 344 *
The author is focused on the Italian mistreatment of Croatian population during the period of Italian military occupation of Croatian lands on the Eastern Adriatic. He also pointed out that Italian occupiers did not hesitate to commit war crimes in order to transform occupied territories into ethnic Italian territories.

Key words
Italian military occupation in Croatia; WWII; ethnic Italian territories; Croatians


Zoran Kantolić: The Work of The Polling Commision in 1945
The author analyzed the activities of the Polling commision in 1945 in Zagreb related to the "crime based on cultural collaboration with the enemy". Numerous prominent Croatian novelists, journalists and artists were charged for the collaboration with the Ustasha regime during the period from 1941 to 1945. The fact is that some of them really supported that regime, but the vast majority of them simply continued to do their job, and were not linked to the activities of the regime. There is a fact that many of them even opposed the Ustashas and their rule.

Key words
Polling Commission; Ustasha regime; war crimes; cultural collaboration


Jure Krišto: Croatian Political Turmoils In The Dusk Of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
The author is dealing with the political situation in Croatian lands during the period from 1867 to 1918. He analyzed main political parties in Croatian lands and their mutual realtions. He also analyzed the relations of Croatian political elite with political elites of the Monarchy and neighboring nations (especially with Hungarians and Serbs).

Key words
Croatian Lands; Austria-Hungary; the period from 1867 to 1918; political situation

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